The All Progressives Congress (APC) has cautioned the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to stop entertaining Nigerians on frivolities over the so-called server operated by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) during the February 23, 2019 presidential election.
According to the ruling party, the opposition should also be properly guided against celebrating the alleged confirmation of the existence of a central election results transmission server by an official of the nation’s electoral umpire.
Relying on a video that has gone viral, the PDP said its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has been vindicated over his claims on the existence and functionality of the INEC server.
Atiku and the PDP are insisting that the results tendered by their lawyers at the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPT) are the authentic presidential poll figures.
In the said video, a top INEC official is seen confirming the existence of a central election results transmission server. The official also confirmed that the Commission would put the central server to use for the presidential election.
The figures alleged to have been obtained by Atiku from the server have become the main plank of the PDP and its candidate’s argument before the Tribunal.
In the result announced by IINEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, President Muhammadu Buhari of APC polled 15,191,847 votes to Atiku’s 11,262,978, indicating a victory margin of 3,928,869 votes.
However, citing results from the alleged server, Atiku claimed that he defeated Buhari with over 1.6 million votes.
The electoral umpire has since denied the existence of the server before the tribunal.
The PDP, through its spokesman, Kola Ologbodiyan, alleged that the trending video has unsettled the Presidency.
But spokesman for the Buhari Presidential Election Campaign Council, Barrister Festus Keyamo (SAN), dismissed the PDP claims as “pure entertainment”.
He said the Tribunal would be guided by the electoral law and not by social media videos, which according to Ologbodiyan “speaks volumes about the reported denial by INEC of the existence of such a server for the 2019 general elections.”
According to the PDP spokesman, the APC team has been in a frenzy to distract the tribunal by externalising its proceedings.
He said: “This is in addition to the Presidency’s feverish attempt to divert public attention by engaging in judicial interpretations and hurling insults on our party and candidate, Atiku Abubakar, over our determination to retrieve our stolen mandate in court.
“The lesson for all in the latest episode is in the undying verity that no matter how long falsehood appears to thrive, the truth will always come to light and prevail at the end of the day.
“Instead of this pitiable resort to frenetic and chaotic play to the gallery, the PDP counsels President Buhari and his team to focus on facing the course of justice at the tribunal.”
However, cautioning the PDP against rejoicing over unsubstantiated claims on the social media, Keyamo said the Tribunal would be guided in its ruling by the electoral law.
Keyamo described the videos on INEC’s plan to transmit results to the server as ‘mere entertainment.’
He said while INEC may have planned to transmit the results electronically, what matters most is if it actually did.
The senior advocate tweeted on Thursday: “Without referring to any particular pending election petition, there’s need to generally guide Nigerians not to gullibly fall for the fantasy created by any video circulating where INEC official(s) spoke of INEC’s plan to electronically transmit results before the elections.
“The video(s) of some INEC official(s) expressing intention to electronically transmit results are only circulated for entertainment. That procedure is neither contained in the Electoral Act nor in INEC’s Guidelines. Courts are only guided by these documents and not such videos.
“Also, what you plan to do may be different from what you actually did. Assuming INEC planned to transmit electronically, the moment it said after the election that it did not do so, the matter ends there especially as the Electoral Act & the Guidelines do not allow it to do so.”
Atiku and the PDP have invited 13 presiding officers from Yobe and Borno states to testify before the Tribunal. The electoral officials claimed that they uploaded results from the polling units in their states to the server.
In his reaction, Keyamo alleged that some people connived with some INEC staff to upload results to the website of the electoral body, adding; “the fact that electronic transmission didn’t happen destroyed their plan.”
According to Keyamo, “those who actually planned to steal the people’s mandate are the ones crying foul.
“In anticipation of the electronic transmission, some crooks concocted fictitious results and perhaps in connivance with certain INEC insiders (or by hacking) tried to upload those results into the server. The fact that electronic transmission didn’t happen destroyed their plan.
“The irony is that the real cheats are the ones struggling to create a narrative that they were cheated; the real crooks are the ones struggling to convince everyone that the system is crooked; those who actually planned to steal the people’s mandate are the ones crying foul.
“The noise about electronic transmission of INEC results is akin to a student who wants to cheat in an exam and enters the hall with prepared answers, not noticing that the set questions are not exactly framed as expected. So, when he’s later told he failed, he says it’s impossible!
“In anticipation of the electronic transmission, some crooks concocted fictitious results and perhaps in connivance with certain INEC insiders (or by hacking) tried to upload those results into the server. The fact that electronic transmission didn’t happen destroyed their plan.”
INEC had dismissed Atiku’s claims as false, saying the results were fabricated as it never transmitted election results to its server – The Nation